Wall Street Journal
By Byron Tau
March 18, 2016
Sen. Ted Cruz made a visit to the U.S.-Mexican border on Friday to criticize the state of border security and to make the case that he, not Donald Trump, is the best candidate to tackle illegal immigration.
Standing at a low-slung barrier, Mr. Cruz said that “my 5-year-old could climb this in about 3 seconds.”
Mr. Cruz said Mr. Trump has supported “open-border Democrats” in the past. Opposition to illegal immigration has helped propel Mr. Trump to front-runner in the Republican presidential campaign.
The March 22 Arizona winner-take-all primary, where 58 delegates are at stake, is Mr. Cruz’s best shot to blunt Mr. Trump’s growing momentum. Utah also votes the same day, and Mr. Cruz is headed to Provo and Draper this weekend for a campaign swing.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose more moderate position on immigration makes Arizona a tougher target, is focusing more on Utah’s caucuses.
The two Western contests are also the first Republican votes since Sen. Marco Rubio left the presidential race after losing his home state of Florida to Mr. Trump last week. After Arizona and Utah, the contest moves to Northern states that are considered less hospitable to Mr. Cruz.
Arizona—ground zero in the contentious national debate over how to deal with the illegal immigrants living in the U.S.—is fertile ground for a fight between Messrs. Trump and Cruz over immigration policy. The state was the site of the 2010 fight over SB 1070, a bill allowing local police to enforce immigration law that was partially invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012.
Mr. Trump has also been endorsed by two popular figures in the state known for their tough stance against illegal immigration, former GOP Gov. Jan Brewer and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Mr. Cruz on Friday visited near the site where an American rancher was killed under mysterious circumstances. Authorities believe Robert Krentz was killed in 2010 by an illegal immigrant or drug traffickers. His death on his own ranch along the border has become a rallying cry for proponents of stricter border security and a crackdown on the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S.
Mr. Cruz toured the border with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has endorsed him, and Steve Ronnebeck, an Arizona man whose son was allegedly killed by an illegal immigrant last year.
Mr. Cruz has long called for additional border security, including a wall and extra border patrol agents. A standard applause line at his rallies is his vow to end so-called sanctuary cities—municipalities that tolerate illegal immigration or refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
But Mr. Trump has dominated on the issue. His signature policy position is to build a border wall and make the Mexican government pay for it. He has also called illegal immigrants “rapists” and “criminals,” and proposed the mass deportation of the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.
The only recent poll of Arizona shows Mr. Trump with a comfortable but not insurmountable lead in the state. The Phoenix-based Westgroup Research poll from March finds Mr. Trump in the lead with 31% of the vote to Mr. Cruz’s 19% of the vote. The poll was conducted before Mr. Rubio bowed out of the presidential race.
He and Mr. Kasich each drew 10%.
Mr. Trump is scheduled to campaign in Arizona on Saturday with an event in Fountain Hills.
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